COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – A Cleveland-area man’s robbery conviction was overturned by the Ohio Supreme Court because of an undelivered message.
Tyler Williams was indicted in 2018 on aggravated robbery charges out of Lorain County, but he was already arrested, tried and convicted on a separate crime in Cuyahoga County.
While he was being held at the Lorain Correctional Institution, Williams used the prison library and completed a notice to invoke his speedy trial rights in the Lorain County case and gave it to the warden.
Under Ohio law, when a person is in prison, and a charge is pending for another offense, the inmate must be brought to trial within 180 days “after he causes to be delivered to the prosecuting attorney and the appropriate court in which the matter is pending, written notice of the place of imprisonment and a request for final disposition to be made of the matter,” according to Ohio Revised Code.
Williams sent three requests about the speedy trial request to the warden with no response. He was later transferred to other state prisons and completed his sentence in September 2020. After his release, he was arrested in Lorain County for the 2018 robbery charges.
He filed a motion to dismiss the case based on a violation of his speedy trial rights, noting that inmates cannot deliver speedy trial notices themselves but can request the warden to deliver the notices.
The Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office appealed the decision and won.
Willaims appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, and the panel ruled in favor of Willaims, writing that he complied with the requirements of Ohio law by notifying the Lorain County Correctional Institution warden that he was invoking his speedy trial rights. The Court said that Williams could not deliver the request himself but could have the warden do it for him, which never happened.
The robbery charges against him were dismissed.